The most popular online grocery retailer is not a grocer, strictly speaking.
The national Online Grocery Shopping During Covid-19 survey from San Francisco-based fresh grocery delivery service Good Eggs reveals 56% of respondents purchase groceries online from Walmart. Amazon Prime/Whole Foods came in second with 50% (more than one selection was permitted), and Instacart and regional traditional grocery stores (such as Safeway and Wegmans) with their own online delivery tied for third with 23%, respectively.
While consumer frequency of buying groceries has not been impacted by COVID-19, the survey shows other grocery shopping habits have been. Since March 2020, 68% of respondents have bought groceries online for delivery, with 43% buying groceries online for delivery two or more times each month. Interestingly, 71% of respondents are also buying groceries in-store, 47% are ordering them for curbside pickup, and 17% are supplementing with meal kits.
Additionally, 60% of people are spending more on groceries now than before COVID-19, with 24% spending significantly more. The top two categories respondents are purchasing more of include snack foods (44%) and pantry staples (39%). After that, there’s a four-category dead heat between produce, baking ingredients, lunch food/ingredients, and eggs, each coming in at 30%.
The most common item respondents say they are buying less of is prepared foods (24%). In fact, 75% of respondents say their eating and cooking habits have changed since the pandemic began. From this group, 46% say they are cooking much more, 29% say they are doing more meal planning, and 22% say they are doing more bulk cooking.
Respondents ranked the top benefit of online grocery shopping, aside from reducing their risk of contracting COVID-19, is time savings (70%). Fifty-one percent say it helps them reduce impulse purchases, and 42% say it makes it easy for them to reorder the same foods regularly.
However, there are things that respondents miss about in-store shopping, and they’ve experienced some online negatives as well. What respondents miss the most includes discovering items that weren’t on their lists (62%), touching and selecting their own produce (53%), and the ability to quickly pick up just one or two items (42%). The downside of shopping online includes the lack of available items or difficulty finding the items they want (45%), getting poor quality foods they wouldn’t have picked themselves (41%), and receiving the wrong items in, or having items missing from, their orders (39%).
Twenty-five percent of respondents say they will use grocery delivery to buy everything they need for their holiday meals. Fifty percent will buy items both via grocery delivery and in-store, and 25% plan to shop in-person for their holiday meals.
After the pandemic is over, 81% of those who have ordered groceries online for delivery say they will continue to do so, with 43% still doing so but not as often, and 38% ordering them just as often as they are now.
Good Eggs conducted this survey with 2,598 consumers in August 2020.